Tarot On The Tree Of Life

Another important aspect of the Hebrew alphabet that has great significance is its three-fold division. The twenty-two letters are separated into the Three Mother Letters, the Seven Double Letters, and the Twelve Simple Letters. The Three Mothers are Aleph, Mem and Shin, which are attributed to the Three elements of the Ancients—Air, Water and Fire. The Tarot Trumps that correspond to these letters, The Fool, The Hanged Man, and Judgement are specific conduits of these elemental energies. The Seven Double Letters are so-called because they each have two sounds associated with them (one hard and one soft). They also have a double meaning and are referred to the seven planets. The Twelve Simple Letters have a single sound and meaning. They pertain to the symbolism of the twelve signs of the zodiac. These planetary and zodiacal relationships also apply to the Trump cards that represent each specific Hebrew letter.

TRUMP PATTERNS ON THE TREE. The Paths formed on the Tree of Life and given expression by the Tarot Trumps always balance each other in terms of function. Just as in the case of the Sephiroth, the Paths, too, have the purpose of giving either Force or Form to the current of energy which descends from the heights of the Tree. The paths which have the masculine (Yod-Force) function are known as Stimulating Paths while those having a feminine (Heh-Form) purpose are called Formulating Paths. A Stimulating Path is always balanced in its position on the Tree by a Formulating Path directly opposite it. For example, The Fool card is a Stimulating Path which is balanced by the Formulating Path of The Magician by their respective placements upon the Tree of Life. The Paths that straddle all three Pillars on the Tree (represented by The Empress, Strength and The Tower) are known as Reciprocal or Equilibrating Paths. The paths of the Middle Pillar are not assigned any of these labels, because they belong to that current of energy which is a direct pipeline from the One Source to the manifest Kingdom.


The cards which are numbered, Aces through tens, have two important sets of symbolism attributed to them. The first is Qabalistic and the second is astrological.

There are four suits in a deck, just as in regular playing cards. Once again the model on which the four suits are based is the Tetragrammaton or Four-lettered Name of God. To Yod-Fire is given the suit symbolized by Wands or Scepters. Heh-Water has the suit of Cups. To Vav-Air is ascribed the suit of Swords, while Heh Final-Earth is referred to that of Pentacles or disks. (In regular cards Wands correspond to diamonds, Cups to hearts, Swords to spades, and Pentacles to clubs.)

Each small card represents the Sephirah whose number matches it. Therefore all Aces allude to Kether, all twos to Chokmah, all threes to Binah, and so forth. This is also where the second version of the Four Qabalistic Worlds or planes of existence comes into play. The forty numbered cards directly coincide with the ten Sephiroth in each of the Four Worlds, giving us the diagram of the Four Trees of Life. The suit of Wands is ascribed to the world of Atziluth, the realm of the Divine and the masculine Yod-Fire Force. The suit of Cups symbolizes the Creative World of Briah and the Heh-Water energy of the Name. Swords are symbolic of the Astral World of Yetzirah, the Vav-Air Force of Tetragrammaton. The last suit of Pentacles corresponds to the Active, Physical World of Assiah and the Heh Final-Earth energy.

Because the Minor cards are static (in fixed centers of energy on the Tree) they represent blind Forces whose qualities are impartial and immobile. This is why some of the small cards seem to be very good and others are somewhat undesirable and harsh. Their functions are pre-determined.


The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn developed an elaborate system of color scales which are used to describe the Sephiroth in each of the Four Worlds. Extensive use of these color scales is required in the higher grades of the Order. For meditative purposes, the Adept is asked to paint four Trees of Life, one for each of the four color scales. Much of the symbolism of a proper Second Order Temple involves complete knowledge of these colors, because colors, like Names of Power, attract certain energies which are associated with them. They are another tool for the Magician to use in attracting unseen energies. Colors are also excellent portals and, by meditating on them, the Mystic is able to explore different astral realms, whether Sephirotic, planetary, or zodiacal.

In the Golden Dawn's color scheme, Atziluth is called the King Scale, therefore all Wand cards are of this scale. Briah is known as the Queen Scale, and all Cup cards fall under this category. Yetzirah

Continue reading here: The Color Scales Of The Ten Sephiroth In The Four Worlds

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